Working From Home
More and more people are working from home on a regular basis and the ‘kitchen table’ scenario isn’t good enough anymore. We’ll take a look at how to create a great home working environment and what rules and regulations you may need to consider when designing your work space.
Converting An Existing Room
The easiest way to add a home working space is to convert an existing room – maybe a box room, the loft or a garage.
Converting a Loft
The most simple type of loft conversion is a ‘Room Loft Conversion’. This is where you board out the loft and add a staircase. Maybe add a few skylight windows in the slope of the roof. You would require a good sized loft with good head height. The best roof type for the loft extension is a gabled roof (2 sides slope) rather than a hipped roof (all 4 sides slope). Always remember, you may lose a bit of space on the floor below when installing the staircase. Prices start from £15,000
Another option is a dormer loft extension. This is where a big box is typically added to the rear of the roof which adds a lot more space to the room. Prices start from £20,000
Converting a Garage/Basement
Turning an existing basement/garage into a usable living space costs from £700 per square meter for the build costs
Other cost factors that you may need to consider include:
- Will you need to move your boiler/consumer unit/gas meter?
- Will you need to underpin (reinforce existing foundations)?
- Will you need to lower the floor to increase ceiling height?
If you don’t have an existing space that you can use, you could consider adding a detached work space, such as a conservatory/outbuilding or extending your home.
Adding A Detached Space
Building a Conservatory
Conservatories can usually extend by a maximum of 8 meters (for a detached house)/6 meters (for any other house) from the rear of the property and also have a height of up to 3 meters without needing planning permission. However, larger single-storey rear extensions (4-8 metres for a detached house/3-6 metres for any other house) are subject to the Neighbour Consultation Scheme.
DIY, ready-to-install conservatories can cost as little as £3,000 or a mid-priced design that will be comfortable even on hot and cold days can cost from £15,000.
Building an Outbuilding
A quite generous size can be easily achieved under permitted development unless the unit will contain a toilet and kitchen (then the building will be considered a self-contained unit and may need planning permission).
Costs vary depending on the size, quality, level of insulation, type of interior and exterior finishes of the outbuilding but a cheap, modular kit can cost as little as £2,000
Building An Extension
For an average single storey extension of 20 square metres, the build cost would be from £30,000 for a basic quality room addition.
If the ground floors existing foundations can take the load, then you may have the option to build a second-floor addition on top of an existing room. This is much more cost-effective than building a new extension but will need planning permission if the addition is at the front of the property (i.e. above a garage). Prices start from £15,000
Do I need Planning Permission
Generally, no – you won’t need to apply for planning permission. With regards to the building work, if you’re just converting an existing room or adding an additional room to the rear of your home, then the work would be covered by permitted development (you don’t have permitted development rights in a conservation area or on a listed building).
You’ll also need to consider whether the function of the property will be changing. No matter what kind of work you carry out from home – whether it’s using a room as a personal office or using space to teach music or repair cars, as long as the property’s still mainly a home then you won’t need to apply for permission to change the use of the building.
Even if you don’t need to apply for planning permission, we recommend that you apply for a lawful development certificate to prove that the work is covered by permitted development and that any new activities are covered by the lawful use of the building.
Your Home Working Environment
Whenever you’re starting a home improvement project, the first step should be to consider what you need from the space. Once you have an idea of the functionality and requirements of the room, then you can use that as the foundation of your design.
Here are some examples of things to consider when designing your home working space:
- Is there enough natural light? If natural light isn’t an option, consider natural light (white light) bulbs or circadian rhythm lighting. Bad lighting can cause eyestrain, headaches and fatigue.
- Is there enough space for a desk, chair and other office furnishings? Have you considered what your storage/shelving requirements are? Can you easily open/close windows and doors once the room’s furnished?
- How much will your workspace be affected by external noise? Do you need to install any soundproofing?
- Does the room have internet access/a good WiFi signal?
- Can you easily install a telephone line if required?
- Do you need to be able to power a kettle? Or mini-fridge?
- How good is the air quality and can you improve it?
If you have any questions about creating your ideal home working environment, or just questions about creating your dream home in general, go ahead and book a free call below with Yoop.
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